How Does Anyone Ever Learn English?!

How does anyone ever learn English?!This is a good question! English is a notoriously difficult language to learn—with its odd pronunciations, spellings, idioms and words ’borrowed’ from numerous other languages. Just when you think you’ve mastered a rule—there’s an exception to it!

On Friday, the ESOL department hosted a Parent Information Session for parents from all divisions of the school. We were really pleased and excited to be able to share information with so many enthusiastic parents. It is clear that our non– native English speaking students have a huge advantage already in learning English—they have interested and supportive parents.

First, I want to share some statistics about the English language and learning English— partly because I love trivia facts!

  • 10% of the world’s population speak English as their mother tongue although the estimate is that by 2020 there will be twice as many people who speak English as a second language compared to people who speak it as their mother tongue.
  • There are 7 ways to say the letter combination ‘ough’. That means we say all these words a different way! -  rough, dough, thought, plough, through, cough, borough.
  • The Oxford English Dictionary lists about 500,000 English words.

So at SIS, how do students learn this rich, complex yet fiendishly difficult language?

At SIS, students are immersed in English with extra language support in class– they are not taken out of class for English language lessons. This means that ESOL students are working on the same work as their class mates whilst having additional specific vocabulary and sentence structure support. This support is tailored to help them with the academic language and skills they will need for each topic or subject area. As ESOL teachers, we come to them rather than they come to us.

In this way, students are constantly exposed to spoken and written English and thus become more comfortable themselves at using it.

To read more stories about Shekou International School visit their website: www.sis.org.cn/why-choose-sis

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